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The Gender in Science and Technology LAB – GENIS LAB

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Another big step towards gender balance in science and technology

Various factors limit the participation of women in research. An EU-funded team addressed this problem by targeting the implementation of structural changes in certain scientific organisations.

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Efforts by the EU in support of women in science have created greater awareness of gender discrimination and provide legislative tools that can be used to support claims. The project GENIS LAB (The gender in science and technology lab – GENIS LAB) took an integrative approach to overcoming social and organisational barriers holding back women in science. The six-member consortium focused on creating a synergy among scientific and technical partners in nanotechnologies. GENIS LAB worked to produce and implement effective policies and incorporate the conditions enabling their implementation. Their policies are driven by the need for an approach able to impose varied impacts that will lead to concrete change in scientific organisations. As such, the work targeted three levels: organisational, social/environmental and transnational European level. Tailored actions' plans were defined around three organisational dimensions where actions can lead to gender discrimination in research organisations. These are organisational culture and stereotypes, human resources management policies and practices, financial dimensions and gender budgeting. Researchers produced various reports and materials, including the 'Achieving gender balance on the top of scientific research – Guidelines and tools for institutional change'. This offers general conclusions and is available on the project website. Project work also highlighted the importance of starting the change/innovation process by creating a baseline according to which developments regarding change and gender equality can be monitored. In fact, project findings underline the importance of monitoring and evaluation indicators. Other information supports the need for internal project teams with full and ongoing management support. Crucial elements for success include establishing internal and external alliances with the right stakeholders, planning negotiating steps and procedures, and engaging and building on the common interests of different groups within an organisation. Project work has helped to raise awareness within the scientific community that a better gender balance benefits not only women, but research institutions themselves. The outcomes should make their way into general education and encourage more girls to consider a career in science.

Keywords

Gender balance, science and technology, scientific organisations, gender discrimination, women in science

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